Philip Doran Traditional Thatcher

Do not accept general comments about thatch. Thatch performance is very specific and depends on geography and topography, material quality, roof design, and not least, the skill of the thatcher. Thatch is unlike any other roof form- it is not only as good as the material quality, but also the skill of the thatcher. The correct tension of thatch is vital get it wrong and the material can end up on the ground or act like blotting paper.

For best performance, roof that are to be thatched should have as a minimum of a 45 degree pitch; Roofing for thatching also requires that dormer windows are kept at least one metre from valleys, gables.

A well fitted ridge should last at least ten years. Better performance can be obtained by the tight fitting of galvanized wire netting; this will hold the ridge together long after the hazel fixing spars have gone brittle.

Keep chimneys very clean (At least once a year, preferably twice). There can be problems with tarring and sooting, if the wood is not seasoned. Spark arrestors can interfere with gas efficiency and cause more problems than they solve. Better to burn correct fuels and have the chimney checked, lined if necessary, and kept clean. Any electrical wires to be used immediately below thatch should be steel wired armored. Avoid draping cables across thatched roofs.

Any workmen or tradespeople requiring access to the roof should take steps to avoid walking on any part of the roof. Where appropriate, walking boards or plywood should be used so that no marks or footprints are made on the roof. If a ladder is to placed on the roof, tie a board on top of the ladder so that the weight is distributed evenly on the thatch.

Remember that a "Stitch in time saves nine" - this is applies to thatch roofs - Any holes or damage should be repaired/filled sooner rather than later.

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  • Use of locally grown materials & second hand materials
  • Use of agriculture & low cost equipment
  • Sustainable and Recyclable resources
  • Historical Link to vernacular, local architecture
  • Excellent Acoustic and thermal Insulation
  • Accommodates Irregular Roof structure


  • Fire hazard
  • Susceptible to prolonged damp conditions
  • Vulnerable to vermin and birds
  • Vulnerable to wind damage
  • Maintenance commitment
  • Specific requirement for ventilation
  • Insurance carries a loading